By Nancy Smorch
As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Michigan (especially West Michigan) and the food that is grown here. And, I’ve mentioned before how we’ve had guests from out of the state or out of the country come for a visit and they have been able to taste the difference in the food that we grow here. The book "Tasting and Touring Michigan’s Homegrown Food; a Culinary Roadtrip," has done a magnificent job of capturing the essence of the Michigan farmers and food artisans.
I have purchased a number of copies of this book and given it as gifts to friends, and it serves as a wonderful reference point for those visiting our great state and looking for possible ideas for foodie tours and tastings.
I especially love the stories about some of the people we know in our own community like Eater’s Guild farm in Bangor, Michigan who started a CSA years ago before it was popular, and Pleasant Hill Farms, in Fennville, Michigan, where we went to pick organic blueberries years ago. I remember them telling me how Michigan State University would have people come to their property because they had species of insects (or was it birds?) on their property that they didn’t see elsewhere. And, it was because of the way they were growing things - organically - that attracted such species.
Then there’s the story about Evergreen Lane Creamery which makes the most amazing goat cheese. I used to take the girls there years ago when they were little to buy some of their delicious apple cider - some of the best I’ve ever had. They have since “let go” of their cider business to focus on their goats. One morning the girls and I went to their farm and had the unexpected pleasure of seeing two baby goats that happened to be born that very morning - such a lovely place.
Then there’s numerous mention of one of our favorite local restaurants, Salt of the Earth, in Fennville, Michigan. They actually have their own garden where they recently harvested over 200 pounds of potatoes for their restaurant.
There’s too many great places and I hate to leave any of them out, but I can’t finish without giving some support to the Eastern part of the state, who has experienced such a rough few years. So let me recognize the Eastern Market in Detroit. I can’t say that I have ever been there, but it is the state’s oldest market. And, according to the book, it brings in as many as 40,000 people on Saturdays with some 400 stalls on 6 blocks in 5 sheds! Sounds like quite an event - I am going to have to experience that one myself some day.
So, I know not all of you are Michigan residents, but if you are ever looking to take a foodie trip, consider coming to “The Mitten” as some call it, and discover what I call, “the Midwest’s best kept secret” - some of the best food on the planet. And check out "Tasting and Touring Michigan’s Homegrown Food" as your possible travel guide.